To start at the very beginning, which is apparently, a very good place to start, or should I say…. Once upon a time… Janis Denise Pegrum was born within the sound of Bow Bells on the 18th March 1966. She was not, however born the only princess to a king and queen, but as the only child of teenage parents who didn’t have an awful lot of money but pocketfuls of big dreams and aspirations. Starting off in the hinterland of Newbury Park, on the edge of London and then on to the suburban splendour of Chigwell, by the age of seven Janis found herself in the wild, wild woods of Epping Essex — which would become her home town until her 30s. Apart from wanting to be Ginger Rogers when she grew up, or a marine biologist — like on Flipper — she mostly harboured within her heart an ambition to be a writer, with no regard toward her undiagnosed dyslexia (it hadn’t been officially labeled in the 1970s), it simply made this dream a little bit more of a steeper hill for her than for most, but then she was never one to be afraid of climbing the odd mountain, or two. Becoming a published author came only second in her heart to joining the RAF, having been inspired all through her childhood by her grandparents’ recollections of their wartime duty in the Royal Air Force. Janis joined up the moment she was the required seventeen and a half, as an Air frame Mechanic.
Leaving the RAF, in order to get married, Janis worked for a time as a trainee dealer in the London FX market before becoming a full-time mother and housewife in 1987. She had always been scribbling poetry and short stories here and there but motherhood finally gave her the time to explore her creative writing a little bit further and, throughout the 90s Janis studied her craft by attending various courses in creative writing and screenwriting, including obtaining a much coveted place on the eminent Robert Mckee’s, severely intensive, three day “Story” seminar when it came to London.
During the 1990s and the 2000s Janis wrote various novels and screenplays but her unhappy personal circumstances along with the accompanying low self esteem and humongous lack of self confidence meant she did not pursue publication for any of her work, rarely sharing it beyond family and friends. In the meantime, professionally, Janis became a qualified substance misuse and domestic abuse counselor, and the manager of a Citizen’s Advice Bureau before having some rather fun adventures as a temp in the city of Cambridge, and a cleaner in a stately home.
In 2010 Janis’ life completely changed when she met a man who would not only prove to be her long-lost twin soul, but also quickly became the number one fan of her work. Thanks to Nicholas’ support, nurturing and boundless love, Janis finally found her full voice as a writer, as well as the self confidence to submit it for publication. Throughout 2011/12 Janis had short stories and articles published in various national, and international magazines. On the back of this Janis produced her first published novel, More Than Gold, in 2013. This was swiftly followed by the publication of Marigolds in Her Hands and the first two novels of The Book Ark series. For various reasons Janis took a break from writing at the end of 2015. Initially planned as a small break, she blinked and two years had passed — during which time Janis hadn’t been completely idle but has set up her furniture rescue and recycling company FABB FADS.
The Winter of 2017 sees Janis returning to her first true love, writing! She is back with an endless stream of novel ideas to keep her and her readers amused for many years to come. Although she turned her back on physically writing for a while, her mind has not stopped creating stories or characters aplenty, and it was these inexorable characters, along with the nagging fans who missed her work, that finally brought Janis back to her desk (nagging, for which she is immensely grateful, because secretly she has missed it all).
Janis married Nicholas Smith in 2011, they are now firmly rooted in Norfolk, UK, inseparable, along with their pair of rescued sighthounds. Janis is passionate about her husband, her hounds, writing and history – in that order… she is also fairly passionate about saving things from being thrown into skips and giving them a new lease of life too but that is another story... When not writing or messing around with paint and glue she can generally be found off adventuring with Nicholas and the hounds in a caravan called Queenie. She also has an awful lot of other skills and interests, far too innumerable to mention here but she does talk about them in interviews, now and then… and occasionally blogs about them.
Janis’ Major Writing Influences: Angela Carter, Bernard Cornwell, Terry Pratchett, Jane Austen, Helen Hollick, Kyril Bonfiglioli, Neil Gaiman, Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott…
Janis is self -published by choice (she still isn’t all that confident about agents and publishers and the like) via her independent publishing label TP Books to find out more about self publishing and TP Books click here
Janis also blogs about the ups and downs, and roundabouts of indie publishing on a blog called All on your Jack Jones A Comprehensive Blog Guide for the Truly Independent Writer